The X-traordinary origin story’
Pearl is a 2022 horror film directed by Ti West (The Sacrament; The Innkeepers; The House of the Devil; Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever) about the early life of the titular X villain. It is set in 1918.
The movie stars Mia Goth, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ty West, plus David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland and Emma Jenkins-Purro.
Earlier this year, Ti West provided some background to the movie to Bloody Disgusting: “Part of the idea of this movie that’s cool to me is that there is a bigger thing to it all. What I can tell you about Pearl, because we’ve already made it and it’s done, is it is very much a story about Pearl. So you will learn more about her. It is stylistically very different from X. You do not need one without the other, but they enrich each other in a specific way. In the way that X is affected, let’s say by 1970s horror independent filmmaking and Americana cinema, Pearl is influenced by a very different era of filmmaking. If we do the third one, it will be affected by a different type of cinema.”
” …it’s so different from X and its slasher framework means it’s much slower to come together. It’s less about the body count, though there are plenty of bloody, violent deaths, and more about a slow unraveling of a mind that was a bit broken from the start. That has the potential to polarize, but it’s a technical marvel and an absolutely wild ride all the same.” 4 out of 5, Bloody Disgusting
“I found both his found footage film The Sacrament (2013) and his western In a Valley of Violence (2016) okay. But the Delaware-born director can do nothing better than bring a breath of fresh air to horror films. Pearl is as clever and entertaining as X again , only better. May Ti West continue to make such exemplary, vibrant, relevant horror films full of new flavors.” Cinema Forever [translated from German]
“Mia Goth, who in the previous film in addition to interpreting the young Maxine was also present in a double role in the role of the elderly Pearl, perfectly fell into the part and appears here as the real fulcrum and engine of the entire operation. In addition to constantly mixing the plans of the comic and the dramatic, the British actress breaks through the screen for the entire duration of the film…” 3.5 out of 5, Critical Eye [translated from Italian]
“Ti West continues X in a delightfully wacky way. With Pearl he succeeds in creating a visually stunning, highly entertaining horror grotesque about the collapse of the American Dream with a terrific Mia Goth in the leading role.” Filmstarts
“It’s no surprise that Ti West is tapping into some of the same themes found in X, but he has refitted that film’s vibe into a classically Hollywood-stylized tragedy ((with beautifully haunting music from Tyler Bates and Tim Williams). Between X and Pearl, Mia Goth is astonishingly transcendent, eliciting empathy despite the character’s insanity; Pearl is as every bit thematically rich as X, if not more so.” Flickering Myth
“Without Mia Goth’s grandiose performance, this would be nothing, and she and West contrive a genuinely brilliant scene when her sister-in-law (Emma Jenkins-Purro) thinks it would be cathartic for poor lonely Pearl to say to her what she is longing to say to her absent husband — and she gets a stream-of-consciousness aria of horror […] it’s clever, limber, gruesome and brutally well acted. A gem.” 5 out of 5, The Guardian
“Significantly smarter than its predecessor, Ti West‘s spin-off Pearl will only disappoint those who crave splatter and gorefest. Instead, however, you get a wonderfully nuanced psychodrama of a murderess, which never makes it too easy for the audience and both the main actress and co-screenwriter Mia Goth build a grotesquely colourful pedestal.” 8 out of 10, Moviebreak [translated from German]
” …the film is full of delightful surprises, all of which is would be churlish to reveal here. Suffice it to say that highlights include a wonderfully deranged nod to The Wizard of Oz, some jaw-dropping archive footage and an audition sequence that will have you grinning from ear to ear.” 4 out of 5, Nerdly
“ …once again declined in a rural vein but without falling into the banal and the already seen. The farm animals, the tools of the peasant trade, the wide open spaces of the countryside and the infamous lake already seen in the previous film are transformed into tools at the service of suspense, horror and the birth of a scary new Pearl.” Tech Princess [translated from Italian]
“Pearl isn’t just great; it retroactively makes its predecessor great, too. It’s a handsome and sad horror drama, with scenes and shots and performances that will make you wonder if you’re supposed to laugh, cry or shriek. Until you realize that the best part of this film is that you are absolutely supposed to do all three. And you probably will.” The Wrap
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